Good Morning, Zooplankton

Good Morning, Zooplankton

Snap quiz. Pencils out, notebooks away. What are zooplankters? What do zooplankton feed upon? Why are plankton important? How does knowing anything about plankton help you find fish?

Exchange papers. One wrong and you flunk. (C'mon, people. You're supposed to know this stuff.)

Zooplankters are microscopic animals that include grazers that feed upon phytoplankton (microscopic plants) or detritus, and predators that feed on other zooplankton and, in some cases, larval fish and invertebrate larvae.


Phytoplankton is the foundation of the aquatic food chain. It produces oxygen. Oceanic plankton creates up to 85% of the oxygen you take in with every breath. Phytoplankton is diurnal, meaning it moves up-and-down in daily cycles, according to light levels. Zooplankton follows along.


Predators like bluegills follow the zooplankton. Predators like crappies follow the shiners and shad that follow the plankton. Predators like muskies cruise beneath these floating food chains to feed on the bluegills, crappies, ciscoes, and other fish attracted to the minnows attracted to the plankton. These floating food chains can be concentrated or scattered by wind patterns over days and weeks. Steady winds over a period of days can concentrate these gypsy food chains along shorelines and all connected points, reefs, humps, weedlines, and breaks.

That's one string. Pull a string, catch a fish. Everything is connected. You and phytoplankton, for instance. Your survival is plugged directly to the base of the aquatic food chain. In fact, you stand but small chance of surviving without it. That's why one wrong flunks the quiz. No room for error.

Shouldn't plankton be more interesting than that new app on your cell phone? We can't build a blade of grass, let alone a single plankter or amoeba. We can't breathe without plankton. But we certainly know how to entertain ourselves with the toys we can make. Reminds me of Ernest Scwhiebert's fly-fishing tale called The Platforms of Despair. He gives up on the giant Atlantics in Norway's Steeplechase (which is 8 miles long but falls 4 miles)  to play with sea-run brown trout at the river's mouth. The lodge owner finds him, shakes his head and says, "I show you tigers and you play with pussy cats."

An intuitive naturalist with no sonar, GPS, or any other kind of electronics stands a good chance of finding better fishing than many a weekend warrior, simply by knowing something about plankton, baitfish, predators, wind, seasons, and food chains.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Travel Destinations on Ice

Travel Destinations on Ice

The In-Fisherman staff targets all fish during each and every season, with many of our favorite winter option are on the ice.

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

Selective Harvest Yellow Bass

Selective Harvest Yellow Bass

In order to sustain good fishing, it's important to understand which to release and fish you should for a fine meal.

Berkley

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate explanation from the In-Fisherman biologists. Bass

Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 22, 2017

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate...

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven riggings. Catfish

All About Catfish

Rob Neumann

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven...

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a powerplant that best fits your personal needs and preferences. Boats & Motors

2- Vs. 4-Cycle Outboard Motors

Dan Johnson - April 16, 2018

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a...

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north or south, will help you pinpoint their predictable locations year after year. 

Walleyes spawn in spring, but spring may arrive in February in Mississippi, March in Walleye

Understanding Spring Walleye Migrations

Gord Pyzer - June 02, 2018

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north...

See More Trending Articles

More Biology

Southern Muskies
Kinkaid Lake in southern Illinois experiences mild winters and long, hot summers, Biology

Tracking Pike and Muskies

Rob Neumann - May 07, 2019

Southern Muskies Kinkaid Lake in southern Illinois experiences mild winters and long, hot...

While the world swelters in midsummer heat, a cult of night fishermen wait for darkness. The reward Biology

Fish the Night Bite Now!

In-Fisherman - July 17, 2012

While the world swelters in midsummer heat, a cult of night fishermen wait for darkness. The...

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as girth measurements. Biology

Walleye Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 03, 2017

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as...

If you've ever caught fish like a grand master one day and bombed the next—despite fishing the Biology

Understanding Barometric Pressure

Dan Johnson - May 05, 2015

If you've ever caught fish like a grand master one day and bombed the next — despite...

See More Biology

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now